The government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have announced another two areas that are being reserved as national conservation biodiversity areas. This brings the number within the country to an impressive 24. The two new areas singled out, are Phou Hiphi national conservation forest in Oudomsay Province, and Laving-Lavuen conservation forest in Savannakhet province. The former is 87,000 ha in area whilst the latter has a total area of 86,000 ha.
The government announced a while back that it intended to increase its area of forest coverage from 41% to 65% before 2015. This drive for conservation and forestry is seen as a good move by all concerned. Conservationists are naturally delighted and the tourist industry is delighted as the growth in trekking and walking holidays in the country continues to grow impressively.
In addition to these latest two additions, the government as set aside 47 national protected forest areas with a total area of a staggering 7.2 million hectares. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are overseeing this huge changes.
One of the major travel companies in the region, Asia Tour Advisor are welcoming the announcement. Their CEO, Mr. Tran Truong said, “Laos had lost quite a lot of forestry over the last 70 years. This is seen as a major step in the right direction by the government. The countryside in this country is as beautiful as anywhere and holiday makers come to see it. That it is now growing at such an impressive rate can only be good for all tour comapnies in the region.”
He was of course referring to the fact that Laos has lost huge amounts of forestry since 1940. Then the Nation’s forest coverage was at an high of 70% of the land. 17 million hectares were then forest, but this was rapidy reduced due to logging activities. It reached its low in 2001 at 41% when the government then decided on a ban on timber exports.